The project, a take on Erle Stanley Gardner’s classic character, was originally set up at HBO two years ago with Robert Downey Jr. attached to play the title character.
I hear it became clear about six months ago that Downey Jr.’s feature commitments would make it difficult for him to act on the series, which remains in active development at HBO.
“We developed two really good scripts, and we are talking about, is any actor that would be great for the role,” HBO president of programming Casey Bloys told Deadline at TCA. “There is a lot of interest from actors, we are thinking about who that might be.”
Robert and Susan Downey, who developed the project, remain executive producers along with Joe Horacek. Team Downey originally had a Perry Mason feature reboot set up at Warner Bros. six years ago with Downey Jr. attached to star.
The Perry Mason HBO series project originally had True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto on board to write. Pizzolatto since has focused his attention on the third season of True Detective, and last summer, HBO tapped new writers, Ron Fitzgerald, who is under an overall deal at HBO, and his frequent collaborator, Rolin Jones.
The character of Perry Mason, an unorthodox investigator/defense attorney, was created by Gardner in the early 1930s. Mason has been featured in more than 80 novels and short stories, a radio series and six feature films in the 1930s, a comic strip in the early 1950s, an Emmy-winning TV series starring Raymond Burr that ran from 1957-66, the short-lived New Perry Mason TV show from 1973-74, and more than 20 made-for-television films that aired during the 1980s and ’90s.